Amarnath yatra 2014: Baltal Frames

As the annual Amarnath yatra begins on Saturday, the first batch of nearly 8000 pilgrims trek the arduous 16-km journey from Baltal to reach the cave shrine. Baltal route is only available route to holy cave at the moment after the traditional snowbound Pahalgam route has been deferred for the pilgrimage. Bilal Bahadur captures the Baltal frames

The annual pilgrimage to the 3,880 metre high holy cave shrine of Amarnath in south Kashmir Himalayas marking the beginning of the 44-day pilgrimage.
The annual pilgrimage to the 3,880 metre high holy cave shrine will  officially last for the 44-day this year.
On June 25, SASB announced its decision to defer the start of the yatra from the Pahalgam route by three days as the track had not yet been completely cleared of snow.
SASB deferred the yatra from the Pahalgam route by three days as the track had not yet been completely cleared of snow.
The Himalayan mountain ranges in the entire Yatra area witnessed very heavy snowfall during the winter and about seven to eight feet of snow still exist at several places around the cave shrine.
After receiving very heavy snowfall during the winter,about seven to eight feet of snow still exist at several places around the cave shrine.
Between June and August each year, Hindu pilgrims complete the Amarnath Yatra, an arduous trek to a holy cave high up in the Himalayan glaciers.
Between June and August each year, Hindu pilgrims trek on the glaciers on their way to holy cave.
The snowcapped mountains along the trail are now black with the pollution generated from hundreds of thousands of people.
Recent studies have shown that over the years, the snowcapped mountains and glaciers have turned black due to the pollution generated from hundreds of thousands of yatris.
Environmentalists have expressed concern that the number of people participating in the Amarnath Yatra is having a negative impact on the area’s ecology.
"A glacier is subzero, but thousands of people emit radiation at 37 degrees Celsius, whether it is yatri [pilgrims] or anybody,"   says Shakil Romshoo, a professor of Geo science at Kashmir University.
“A glacier is subzero, but thousands of people emit radiation at 37 degrees Celsius, whether it is yatri [pilgrims] or anybody,” says Shakil Romshoo, a professor of science at Kashmir University.
The cave is covered with snow most of the year except for a short period of time in summer when it is open for pilgrims.
The cave is covered with snow most of the year except for a short period of time in summer when it is open for pilgrims.
Thousands of Hindu devotees make an annual pilgrimage to the Amarnath cave on challenging mountainous terrain to see an ice stalagmite formed inside the cave.
Thousands of Hindu devotees make an annual pilgrimage to the Amarnath cave on challenging mountainous terrain to see an ice stalagmite formed inside the cave.
The Cave waxes during May to August, as snow melts in the Himalayas above the cave and the resultant water seeps into the rocks that form the cave and gradually wanes thereafter.
The cave waxes during May to August, as snow melts in the Himalayas above the cave and the resultant water seeps into the rocks that form the cave and gradually wanes thereafter.
As per the religious beliefs, it has been claimed that the lingam grows and shrinks with the phases of the moon reaching its height during the summer festival, although there is no scientific evidence for this belief.
As per the religious beliefs, it has been claimed that the lingam grows and shrinks with the phases of the moon reaching its height during the summer festival, although there is no scientific evidence for this belief.
The main purpose of the annual pilgrimage to the cave is worship of the ice stalagmite Lingam.
The main purpose of the annual pilgrimage to the cave is worship of the ice stalagmite Lingam.
A three-tier security ring, comprising of police, CRPF,BSF and Army, has been put in place along the route to ensure peaceful yatra.
A three-tier security ring, comprising of police, CRPF,BSF and Army, has been put in place along the route to ensure peaceful yatra.

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